Written by Gary Simeone, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 07 August 2014 00:00
The fields of Kevin Kolm Memorial Park were filled with nearly 200 soccer players on Saturday for the annual ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event. The event was put together by the Mastermind Unit in sponsor of the Michael Magro Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting pediatric patients with cancer and their families.
“The Mastermind Unit is a non-profit organization that was founded by a group of guys who grew up playing soccer together in Hicksville,” said co-founder Bryan Alcantara. “This is our seventh annual ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event at Memorial Park.”
The Mastermind Unit is made up of five guys, Alcantara, Brian Horvath, Michael Stamatinos, Dave Musinski and Andrew Visconti. Their main initiative is to empower individuals to take a leadership role in their community by organizing events that support a charity of their choice.
Sixteen soccer teams paid $500 each to play competitive playoff style soccer in hopes of raising money for the charity. The winning team was also awarded a three foot high trophy at the end of the final match. Hicksville’s FC Los Dappers took home the trophy.
Much like the recent World Cup games, the teams started out playing three matches in a group stage and the top two teams from each bracket moved on into the quarterfinal round. From there the top four teams made it into the semifinals and the winners squared off in the final game of the day.
“What’s unique about these games is that the teams play on shorter fields with smaller goals,” said Alcantara. “Also the games are shorter than regular soccer matches and if the two teams are tied at the end they face each other in a crossbar challenge to see who can kick the ball off of the crossbar first.”
In order to be on a team, players needed to be older than 18-years-old and have played competitive soccer in the past.
“A lot of these guys are local college players and ex-professionals, so these games are very hard fought and competitive,” said Alcantara.
The day was filled with energy and high spirit as the players battled hard on the field and the DJ pumped music through the speakers to keep the crowd of onlookers engaged.